Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
DNA Bill can be misused for caste-based profiling, says panel draft report:
The parliamentary standing committee on science and technology headed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has raised few concerns over the DNA Bill.
- DNA data could be misused for caste or community-based profiling.
- The Bill refers to consent in several provisions, but in each of those, a magistrate can easily override consent, thereby in effect, making consent perfunctory (Meaning of perfunctory: performed merely as a routine duty; hasty and superficial).
- There is also no guidance in the Bill on the grounds and reasons of when the magistrate can override consent, which could become a fatal flaw.
- The Bill permits retention of DNA found at a crime scene in perpetuity, even if conviction of the offender has been overturned.
- The Bill also provides that DNA profiles for civil matters will also be stored in the data banks, but without a clear and separate index.
Overview of the DNA Technology (Use And Application) Regulation Bill, 2019:
- It seeks to establish a national data bank and regional DNA data banks.
- It envisages that every databank will maintain indices like the crime scene index, suspects’ or undertrials’ index, offenders’ index, missing persons’ index and unknown deceased persons’ index.
- It also seeks to establish a DNA Regulatory Board. Every laboratory that analyses DNA samples to establish the identity of an individual, has to be accredited by the board.
- The bill also proposes a written consentby individuals be obtained before collection of their DNA samples. However, consent is not required for offences with punishment of more than seven years in jail or death.
- It also provides for the removal of DNA profiles of suspects on the filing of a police report or court order, and of undertrials on the basis of a court order. Profiles in the crime scene and missing persons’ index will be removed on a written request.
Sources: the Hindu.